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Beware of Scams During Rebuilding Process

As many Sevier County residents work to rebuild following the recent wildfire, we should be cautious of phony building contractors and other scam artists that may attempt to take advantage of people following a disaster. Before making plans or selecting a contractor, we recommend that you seek advice from one of the local city or county building departments:

Sevier County - Chris Jenkins, (865) 774-7120
City of Gatlinburg - James Horner, (865) 436-7792
City of Pigeon Forge - Joe Dunn, (865) 429-7312
City of Sevierville - Butch Stott, (865) 453-5504.

It's likely that any work on your property will require some type of a permit, so starting with your building department makes sense. Following are several tips to protect yourself during the rebuilding process.

When you hire a contractor, it is recommended you use a licensed contractor when possible. You can verify a contractor's license at http://verify.tn.gov/.  Demand that a contractor carries general liability insurance and worker's compensation to protect you from accidents that may occur on your property.

If approached by a housing inspector, ask to see the inspector's identification badge. All Federal employees, contractors, and inspectors carry official photo identification.

If someone claiming to be from FEMA or any other state agency calls or emails you, do not provide them with any personal information and do not pay any money to obtain a disaster grant. You should initiate the call to these agencies. You can register with FEMA for assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362